There are several places in the U.S. and Canada where you can dig for dinosaurs or tour dig sites. All digs require advance reservation, though you can sometimes get last-minute spots for day digs.
Wyoming Dinosaur Center & Dig Sites
Thermopolis, Wyoming 82443
http://www.wyodino.org (active May 1, 1998)
Day Digs: take place every day, late spring through early fall, subject to the weather. Trip includes all equipment, lunch, drinks and transportation between WDC and dig site. $100/person; $250/family of up to two adults and two children; $50 per extra child. Discounts for multiple days. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Kids' Digs: let ages 8-13 tour WDC, draw and sculpt dinos, recognize fossils and dig with geologists. Offered June 16-17, July 7-8, August 11-12. $50 includes lunch.
Museum: Open daily, (10 a.m.-5 p.m., January-April; , 8 a.m.-8 p.m May-October). The cost is $6 for adults, $3.50 for children, and $15 for family of four. Dig sites are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m in the summer. $10 for adults and $7 for children.
Museum of Western Colorado
P.O. Box 20,000
Grand Junction, Colorado 81502-5020
Museum paleontologists and educational staff lead expeditions to quarries in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. Digs include meals, transportation between museum and dig site, plus tent lodging for overnight expeditions. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Day Digs: offered most Thursdays and almost any day that four or more diggers sign up; $75/person ($60 each for 10 or more people).
Two-day Digs: Offered by special arrangement only; $175/person ($140 pp for 10 or more people).
Six-day Digs: For serious paleophiles only; May 4-9, August 24-29, September 7-12; $699/person ($559 pp for 10 or more people).
Dinosaur Discovery Expeditions
550 Jurassic Court
Fruita, Colorado 81521
Dinamation International Society runs both Dinosaur Discovery Expeditions (DDE) and Fruita's Dinosaur Discovery Museum, which has robotic dinosaurs, simulated earthquakes and hands-on exhibits.
DDE doesn't do one-day digs. Instead it leads paleontological trips in Colorado and New Mexico, plus Argentina, Canada, France, Mexico and Mongolia. Trips run five to fifteen days, have varying age requirements and often include as much time in classrooms, labs and museums as at quarries or dig sites. Prices for North American trips run $875-1,350 for ages 13 and up.
Five-day Family Dino Camp, aimed at families with children ages 6-12, includes dino-related tours, crafts, classes and videos. But only adults actually dig fossils; kids look for fossil replicas. Start dates are July 4, July 18, August 1, August 15; $875/adults; $575/children.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology
Drumheller, Alberta, Canada T0J 0Y0
(888) 440-4240 and (403) 823-7707
North America's largest paleontological museum lets amateurs work side- by-side with museum staff in southern Alberta Badlands. Finds have included T. rex, Albertosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus, the last horned dinosaur of its type.
Day Digs: weekends June 6-21, daily June 27-August 30; includes lunch, transportation and museum admission. $85/ages 16 and up; $55/ages 10-15 accompanied by adult; 30 percent discount for second and subsequent days. (All prices in Canadian dollars.)
Dig Watch: Two-hour dig site tours, June 27-August 30, leave daily at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.. $12/ages 18 and up; $8/ages 7-17; free/ages 6 and under; $30/family (two adults and their children ages 17 and under).
One- and Two-Week Field Experience: June 7-August 30, Sunday-Saturday, for ages 18 and up only. Rugged work; includes rustic lodging in trailers, all meals, work-related supplies. Priority given to two-week participants. $800/one week; $1500/two weeks; $600 for third and subsequent weeks. Non- refundable $300 deposit holds reservation.
Joan Huyser-Honig, an award-winning travel writer from Michigan, has written for Family Fun, Harrowsmith Country Life, New York Post, San Francisco Examiner, travelocity.com and Westways. She and her husband, photographer Steve Huyser-Honig, frequently have joint assignments. They often travel with their two teenage sonsÂ— digging dinos, searching out ethnic food, canoeing untouched rivers.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication